Tag Archives: Italian

Quick And Easy: Pear & Ginger Smoothie

Start the day with this tasty and delicious smoothie! Packed with nutrients and vitamins, this lovely drink is perfect for this time of year! 🙂

Enjoy! x

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Pear and ginger smoothie.

For 2 smoothies

4 pears

1/2 a teaspoon of freshly grated ginger

4 tablespoons of non-dairy milk (almond, rice or soya milk)

the grated zest of half a lemon (organic)

a few crushed cardamom seeds

2 ice cubes

Method.

1. Wash and peel the pears, then place the fruit in a blender.

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2. Add the ginger with the crushed seeds, the zest of half a lemon and two ice cubes.

3. Blend everything until smooth and serve in two large glasses with a couple of straws.

Have a wonderful weekend!

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Pera e zenzero frullato.

2 smoothies

4 pere

1/2 cucchiaino di zenzero fresco, grattugiato

4 cucchiai di latte vegetale ( latte di mandorle, riso oppure soia)

la buccia grattugiata di mezzo limone, non trattato

alcuni semi schiacciati di cardamomo

2 cubetti di ghiaccio

Preparazione.

1. Lavate e sbucciate le pere, poi mettete la frutta in un frullatore.

2. Aggiungete lo zenzero, la buccia grattugiata di mezzo limone e i semi di cardamomo con due cubetti di ghiaccio.

3. Frullate tutto fino ad ottenere un composto cremoso e servite in due bicchieri con le cannucce.

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Best Christmas treats!

Here are some ideas for your Christmas Party! I hope you like my choices! 🙂

Click on the links or the pictures for the recipes.

Pandolce al cioccolato con le nocciole ( a wonderful traditional Christmas cake made with lots of hazelnuts and chocolate)

Pandolce alla genovese con nocciole e cioccolato (hazelnuts and chocolate pandolce)

Baci di dama (Absolutely gorgeous! Hazelnuts and chocolate joined together for pure pleasure!)

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Bavarian cream with chocolate -caramel sauce (an incredibly soft vanilla dessert, served with a delicious sauce)

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 Shortbread biscuits with black pepper and fennel seeds (So sweet and spicy, these cookies melt in the mouth and can be very addictive!!! )

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Dark chocolate and marrons glacés Tart (Decadent and delicious!)

Slice Of Dark Chocolate And Marrons Glacés Tart

Torta Paradiso with Crema Pasticciera (This is a gorgeous sponge cake that can be served with any filling you wish… I would serve it with this delicious Italian custard cream)

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Step 6. Stir the custard before using.

Torta della Nonna (An amazing cake, made with a shortbread crust and top layer, filled with a thick custard and topped with lots of pine nuts! Truly special!)

Torta della nonna (grandma's cake)

French meringues (I know this is a recent post, but I think meringues are a perfect Christmas treat!)

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Light Wholemeal Spelt Brioches

Brioche and cappuccino are, without a doubt, Italians’ favourite breakfast! Yes, our ideal breakfast would be a brioche filled with plenty of custard and a nice warm cappuccino, topped with a lot of cocoa powder! It’s not something we would have every day (even though some people might do) but it’s something we’d treat ourself with during weekends and special occasions. Sometimes waking up to a warm brioche and a cappuccino is a really nice way to start the day in full swing!

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Since I started this blog, I have always wanted to try and make my own brioches, but for one reason or another I kept on postponing it…Last week I finally gave it a go and here is my brioche recipe! I have to say, I thought it was going to be much more complicated! The method is not too difficult if you follow all the steps of the recipe, it just takes some time and care. You can prepare your brioches in your spare time and store them in the freezer, where they will last up to a month. They are very nice when you warm them up in the morning!

Italian brioches have a similar shape to croissants but the dough is sweeter and softer. This recipe is quite light, it has some fibres and it’s not too sweet, so you can fill the brioches with whatever you like, if you wish.

Wholemeal Spelt Brioches (sourdough recipe).

Medium difficulty

Ingredients

For 2 trays (approximately 12-14 brioches)

For the starter

100 g (3.5 oz)  manitoba flour

50 g (1.7 oz) semisolid sourdough (made with manitoba flour, or plain flour)

water

For the dough

150 g (5.29 oz) manitoba flour

100 g (3.5 oz) plain flour

100 g (3.5 oz) wholemeal spelt flour

100 ml (3.38 us fl oz) milk (at room temperature)

2 egg (1 egg for the dough and 1egg to brush on top of the brioches)

1 egg yolk

60 g (2.1 oz) butter, softened

a pinch of salt

50 g (1.7 oz) brown sugar

1 teaspoon of honey

2 drops of vanilla extract

a little bit of grated lemon zest (use an organic lemon)

icing sugar

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Method.

1. Prepare the sourdough starter the night before and let it rise overnight at room temperature. Mix 100 g manitoba flour with 50 g of sourdough and enough water to get a smooth and moist dough. Cover it with cling film and let it rise for 12 hours.

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2. The next morning, mix the rest of the flour with the starter, then add 1 egg, the egg yolk, the brown sugar, a few drops of vanilla extract, a little bit of grated lemon zest and honey. Mix well. Add the butter and a pinch of salt. Knead well, adding a little ‘flour if necessary.

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3. Allow the dough to rise until it doubles in volume (it will take a few hours).

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4. When risen, gently roll out the dough using a rolling pin. Then divide the sheet of dough into 2 and cut a few triangles (see the picture).

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5. Roll each triangle and shape the brioches like small croissants. Then place them on 2 baking sheets greased with butter and dusted with flour. Brush your brioches with a beaten egg (or milk).

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6. Bake at 200 ° C (392° F) for about 20 minutes with steam (you can do that by putting a small pan filled with boiling water in the oven; while the brioches are cooking the water will release steam and the brioches will remain soft inside). Let cool and dust with icing sugar.

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Brioches semi-integrali di farro (con lievito madre).

media difficoltĂ 

Ingredienti

Per 2 teglie (circa 12-14 brioches)

Panetto di lievito o biga

100 g di farina manitoba

50 g di lievito madre semisolido (con base di farina manitoba o farina 00)

acqua q. b.

Per l’impasto

150 g di farina manitoba

100 g di farina 00

100 g di farina integrale di farro

100 ml di latte a temperatura ambiente

2 uova (1 uovo servirĂ  per lucidare le brioches)

1 tuorlo

60 g di burro ammorbidito

un pizzico di sale

50 g di zucchero integrale di canna

1 cucchiaino di miele

2 gocce di estratto di vaniglia

un po’ di buccia grattugiata di un limone biologico

zucchero a velo q. b.

Preparazione.

1. Preparate il panetto di lievito la sera prima e lasciate lievitare tutta la notte a temperatura ambiente. Mescolate 100 g di farina manitoba e 50 g di lievito madre con un po’ d’acqua. Coprite con la pellicola e lasciate lievitare per 12 ore (a temperatura ambiente).

2. La mattina dopo mischiate le farine e aggiungete il panetto lievitato, un uovo intero, un tuorlo, 50 g di zucchero di canna, l’estratto di vaniglia, la buccia di limone e il miele. Amalgamate bene, poi aggiungete il burro e un pizzico di sale. Lavorate bene l’impasto, aggiungendo un po’ di farina se necessario.

3. Lasciate lievitare l’impasto fino a quando sarĂ  raddoppiato di volume.

4. Dopo la lievitazione stendete l’impasto delicatamente con un matterello, poi dividetelo in due e tagliate dei triangoli.

5. Arrotolate le brioches e mettetele su due teglie imburrate e infarinate. Spennellate le brioches con dell’uovo sbattuto per lucidarle (potete anche usare del latte al posto dell’uovo).

6. Cuocete a 200 °C per circa 20 minuti con del vapore (cioè mettete nel forno anche un pentolino di metallo colmo d’acqua bollente; con questo metodo le brioches resteranno morbide dentro e non si asciugheranno). Lasciate raffreddare e spolverate con zucchero a velo.

Traditional Recipe: Focaccia Alla Genovese (Genoese Focaccia Bread)

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Shiny and crunchy on the outside, soft and moist on the inside, only genoese focaccia has certain qualities which, all together, define one of the best focaccias you can ever taste. Focaccia alla genovese has a distinctive olive oil taste and it requires a long leavening time in order to be so soft and delicious. Apparently, you can only taste the real thing in Genoa and this might depend on several factors (the ingredients, the humidity in the air, the water and, last but not least, the old traditional recipe).

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Today I am going to give you two recipes that you can use to make an amazing focaccia, either with normal yeast or sourdough. In the second recipe, the recipe with normal yeast, I reduced the leavening time to make it more manageable, but, of course, if you let it rise for longer it will get softer and the result will be much better.

Focaccia Alla Genovese (with sourdough).

Ingredients

350 g (12.3 oz) plain flour

6-7 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

100 g (3.52 oz) semiliquid sourdough (you can replace the sourdough with 20 g of yeast)

8 g  (0.28 oz) ground sea salt

a pinch of barley malt

water

Method.

1. In a bowl, make a starter by mixing 150 g (5.29 oz) flour with 100 g (3.52 oz) of semiliquid sourdough, a little bit of water, a pinch of barley malt. Mix everything, wrap the bowl with cling film and let rise overnight (at room temperature).

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2. Mix the starter with the rest of the flour, some water, some salt and a tablespoon of olive oil. Knead vigorously until you get a smooth dough (make a moist dough).

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3. Cover with a damp kitchen towel and let rise for, at least, 3 hours. After 3 hours, knead again for a few minutes then let rise for another 3 hours (actually until the dough doubles in volume).

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4. Gently roll out the dough on a baking sheet, previously greased with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Make some wells by pressing with your fingers in the dough.

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5. Let rise for 2 hours, then brush with plenty extra virgin olive oil mixed with a little bit of water and bake at 190° C (374° F) for about 30 minutes.

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6. Remove from the oven, brush with more olive oil (add water if the dough is too dry), then season with salt and serve.

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Focaccia bread (quicker recipe with yeast).

ingredients

350 g (12.3 oz) plain flour

6-7 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

20 g (0.70 oz) yeast

7 g (0.24 oz) ground sea salt

a pinch of barley malt

some water

Method.

1. In a bowl, combine the yeast with 3 tablespoons of warm water, a pinch of barley malt and 4 tablespoons of flour. Mix well, cover with cling film and let it rise for 1 hour.

2. Mix the yeast with the rest of the flour, a tablespoon of olive oil, some water and a little bit of salt. Knead well until dough is smooth.

3. Allow to rise for 1-2 hours, then roll out the dough with a rolling pin (without pressing too much).

4. Let rise again for 30 minutes, then make some wells in the surface of the dough, by pressing with your fingers. Brush with plenty of extra virgin olive oil mixed with some water and bake at 190° C (374° F) for about 30 minutes.

5. Remove from the oven, brush with more olive oil (add water if the dough is too dry), then season with the rest of the salt and serve.

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Focaccia Alla Genovese (con lievito madre).

Ingredienti

350 g di farina 00

6-7 cucchiai d’olio extra vergine d’oliva

100 g di lievito madre semiliquido

8 g di sale marino macinato

malto d’orzo

acqua q. b.

Preparazione.

1. In una ciotola, mischiate 150 g di farina con 100 g di lievito madre, un po’ d’acqua e pochissimo malto d’orzo. Mescolate energicamente, poi sigillate con la pellicola e lasciate lievitare per tutta la notte (a temperatura ambiente).

2. Unite al lievito il resto della farina, poi aggiungete un pizzico di sale, poca acqua e un cucchiaio d’olio. Lavorate energicamente fino ad ottenere un impasto omogeneo (l’impasto deve essere anche umido).

3. Coprite con un panno umido e fate lievitare per almeno 3 ore. Raggiunta la prima lievitazione, impastate ancora per qualche minuto e lasciate lievitare finchĂ© l’impasto sarĂ  raddoppiato di volume.

4. Stendete delicatamente l’impasto su una teglia (unta abbondantemente).

5. Create dei piccoli crateri con le dita e spennellate l’impasto con acqua e olio. Fate lievitare per altre 2 ore, poi infornate a 190° C per circa 30 minuti.

6. Spennellate ancora con olio abbondante (aggiungete un po’ d’acqua se la focaccia è troppo secca), salate e servite.

Focaccia (preparazione veloce).

Ingredienti

350 g di farina 00

6-7 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

20 g di lievito di birra

7 g di sale marino macinato

malto d’orzo

acqua q. b.

Preparazione.

1. In una ciotola, mischiate il lievito con 3 cucchiai di acqua tiepida, pochissimo malto d’orzo e 4 cucchiai di farina. Mescolate bene, ricoprite con la pellicola e lasciate lievitare per 1 ora.

2. Unite l’impasto con il lievito al resto della farina, poi aggiungete un cucchiaio d’olio, un po’ d’acqua e un po’ di sale. Mescolate bene, fino ad ottenere un impasto liscio.

3. Lasciate lievitare per 1-2 ore, poi stendete l’impasto con il matterello (senza schiacciarlo troppo) e formate dei piccoli crateri con la punta delle dita.

4. Fate lievitare ancora per 30 minuti, poi spennellate con abbondante olio d’oliva mischiato ad acqua. Infornate a 190° per circa 30 minuti.

5. Sfornate la focaccia e spennellate con olio abbondante (aggiungete un po’ d’ acqua se è secca). Salate con il sale rimasto e servite.

Make The Best Pizza Dough ( Part 2)

I already published a basic pizza dough recipe with normal yeast a few weeks ago, this is basically the same recipe adapted for sourdough. Before getting started with the recipe, let me say a few things about sourdough.

Why sourdough?
Sourdough is a natural yeast created by fermenting flour with water. It is a long process, which is not particularly complicated, but it takes some time and care.
Basically, you create the natural yeast, then you feed it and keep it in good shape, that’s really all there is to it! In exchange, your sourdough will reward you with a lot of flavour, leavening strength and satisfaction!
Moreover, sourdough is healthier and much more digestible than commonly used yeast. Another good reason to use it is the difference in taste, as sourdough’s flavour is much more delicate and pleasant than all the other yeasts.
So, don’t give up if you haven’t tried yet, instead give it a go and you’ll see the difference, I promise you!
To get started with sourdough you can follow the step by step recipe here.

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Some things you have to know before you go on with the recipe:

1. The flour-sourdough ratio in recipes is usually 3 to 1 (3 parts of flour plus 1 part of sourdough). In order to prepare approximately 500 g of dough we will use 375 g of flour with 125 g of sourdough. You can use this recipe to make sourdough bread as well as pizza.

2. Semi-liquid sourdough contains a lot of water, therefore you have to add less water than in normal yeast pizza and bread recipes. My advice is to add a little bit of water gradually.

3. Sometimes it’s useful to make the dough in the evening and then keep it in the fridge with some extra water over night. The following day, take it out of the fridge two hours before you use it (knead the dough a little, then make the pizzas and let them rise for a couples of hours at room temperate). During this process the dough will rise much better and faster.

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Sourdough Pizza Crust.

Ingredients

For 2 large pizzas

Recipe No. 1

210 g flour 00 (or plain, unbleached all-purpuse flour)

135 g whole spelt flour

30 g durum wheat flour (semolina)

125 g sourdough (semi-liquid and made ​​with manitoba flour)

10 g salt

a pinch of barley malt (optional)

extra virgin olive oil to taste

water

Note.

If you use the sourdough starter made ​​from flour 00 (or plain, unbleached all-purpose flour) the ingredient ratio changes slightly:

Recipe No. 2

130 g flour 00 (or plain, unbleached all-purpuse flour)

135 g whole spelt flour

80 g Manitoba flour

30 g durum wheat flour (semolina)

125 g sourdough (semi-liquid and made with flour 00 of plain, unbleached all-purpuse flour)

10 g salt

a pinch of barley malt (optional)

extra virgin olive oil to taste

water

Method.

1. Sift and mix the flour on a wooden board or a large bowl (use a fine sieve). Mix the flour with the sourdough and a little bit of water. Add the salt and, if you want, you can also add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of malt.

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2. knead vigorously, until you get an elastic dough. Let the dough rise in a sheltered place for 3-6 hours (the rising time varies depending on different factors, the dough is ready when it has doubled in volume).

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3. Take two large oven trays, cover them with baking paper and brush them with plenty of extra virgin olive oil. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin, make two pizza bases and then add the other ingredients (I am going to make a pizza with mozzarella cheese and crescenza, a nice sweet and creamy Italian cheese)

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4. Let the pizzas rise for about 1 hour, then bake in a preheated oven at 190° (374°F) for 20-30 minutes.

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Impasto base per la pizza con lievito madre.

Ingredienti

2 pizze grandi

Ricetta n°1

210 g di farina 00

135 g di farina di farro integrale

30 g di semola rimacinata

125 g di lievito madre (semiliquido, a base di farina manitoba)

acqua q. b.

10 g di sale

pochissimo malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

olio extra vergine d’olio d’oliva q. b.

Nota.

Se usate il lievito madre a base di farina 00 gli ingredienti variano leggermente:

Ricetta n° 2

130 g di farina 00

135 g di farina di farro integrale

80 g di farina manitoba

125 g di lievito madre (semiliquido con base di farina 00)

30 g di semola rimacinata

10 g di sale

acqua q. b.

pochissimo malto d’orzo (facoltativo)

olio extra vergine d’olio d’oliva q. b.

Metodo.

1. Mescolate, setacciate le farine e sistematele a fontana su una spianatoia o mettetele in una ciotola grande. Unite il lievito madre alla farina con un po d’acqua. Mescolate leggermente, poi aggiungere il sale con cucchiai d’ olio extra vergine di oliva e un pizzico di malto, se desiderate aggiungerli.

2. Lavorate energicamente gli ingredienti, fino ad ottenere un impasto omogeneo ed elastico. Lasciate lievitare l’impasto in un luogo riparato per 3-6 ore (il tempo di lievitazione varia a seconda di diversi fattori, l’impasto è pronto quando sarĂ  raddoppiato di volume).

3. Prendete due teglie grandi, ricopritele con carta da forno e spennellatele con abbondante olio extra vergine d’oliva. Stendete la pasta con un matterello e fate due basi per pizza, poi aggiungere gli altri ingredienti (in questo caso faremo una pizza bianca con crescenza e mozzarella).

4. Lasciate lievitare le pizze per circa 1 ora, poi fate cuocere a 190° C in forno preriscaldato per 20-30 minuti (dipende dallo spessore della pasta).

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Budget Friendly And Full Of Flavour!

This week we are going to prepare a lovely spring risotto with corn salad and fresh peas. This is a cheap and easy risotto to make, perfect for this season! You don’t usually cook corn salad, but a few weeks ago I had some left in the fridge, so I made a soup with it to use it up and It was really lovely!

Corn salad can be used instead of spinach or asparagus, and in fact the taste is somewhere in between the two vegetables, but very delicate. Moreover, It’s cheaper than a bunch of asparagus, which is great! Give it a try, you’ll love it!!!

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Risotto With Fresh Peas And Corn Salad.

Cooking time: 35 minutes

Preparation: 20 minutes

Ingredients

for 2 servings

160 g (5.6 oz, 3/4 cup) arborio rice

100 g (3.5 oz) fresh peas without the pods (about 200 g ,7 oz, with the pods)

100 g (3.5 oz) of corn salad (lamb’s lettuce), washed and roughly chopped

3 shallots, peeled and finely chopped

1 clove garlic, peeled and finely chopped

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

a small piece of butter (which you can replace with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, if you wish)

700 ml (3 cups vegetable stock), warm (made with an organic stock cube and water)

4 tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese

salt and pepper to taste

a hint of nutmeg (optional, but very nice!)

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Method.

1. In a large heavy based pan, pour 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, add a small piece of butter and gently fry the shallots over a low heat (without burning them). After a few minutes add the garlic, then stir.

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2. Add the rice and the peas and stir. After 2 minutes, gradually pour in the vegetable stock.

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3. Simmer and stir at a moderate heat until the broth is mostly absorbed. Add the corn salad, then lower the heat and simmer for another 10 minutes (stirring continuously) until creamy.

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4. Turn off the heat, season with a hint of nutmeg, 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper; then put the lid on the pan and let the risotto sit for a few minutes. Serve with plenty of grated Parmesan on top.

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Tip. Garnish the dish with some fresh corn salad leaves.

Risotto Con Piselli Freschi e Valerianella.

Preparazione: 20 minuti

Cottura: 35 minuti

Ingredienti

per 2 persone

160 g riso arborio

100 g di piselli freschi sbucciati (200 g circa di peso con il bacello)

100 g di valerianella, lavata e tagliata grossolanamente

50 g di scalogno, sbucciato e tritato finemente

1 spicchio d’aglio, sbucciato e tritato

3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva

una nonce di burro (che potete sostituire con 1 cucchiaio d’olio in piĂą, se lo desiderate)

700 ml di brodo vegetale, caldo (fatto con un dado biologico)

un pizzico di noce moscata

sale e pepe q. b.

parmigiano grattugiato q. b.

Preparazione.

1. In una pentola grande a fondo spesso, versate 3 cucchiai di olio extra vergine d’oliva, aggiungete il burro e fate soffriggere lo scalogno a fiamma bassa. Dopo qualche minuto aggiungete l’aglio.

2. Unite al soffritto anche il riso e i piselli. Fate rosolare per qualche minuto, poi annaffiate con abbondante brodo vegetale. Continuate ad aggiungere il brodo gradualmente, durante la cottura.

3. Fate cuocere a fuoco moderato (mescolando sempre), finché il brodo si sarà ritirato quasi completamente. Aggiungete la valerianella verso fine cottura, poi abbassate il fuoco e fate cuocere per altri 10 minuti (sempre mescolando).

4. Spegnete il fuoco, condite con un pizzico di noce moscata, qualche cucchiaio di parmigiano, sale e pepe; lasciate riposare per qualche minuto il risotto, chiudendo la pentola con un coperchio. Servite con abbondante parmigiano.

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